The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Day: April 14, 2009

Kimberly-Clark Buys Jackson Safety

Kimberly-Clark Corp., Dallas, TX, has acquired Jackson Products, Inc., a privately held safety products company headquartered in Fenton, MO. Jackson Products, Inc., also known as Jackson Safety, is a provider of welding safety products, personal protective equipment and work zone safety products.
 
"The acquisition of Jackson Safety is consistent with our global business plan strategy to accelerate growth of high-margin workplace solutions," said Jan Spencer, president of Kimberly-Clark Professional. "Jackson Safety brings a wealth of strengths to Kimberly-Clark's Professional business, including an outstanding product portfolio and a highly experienced sales force."
 
Tom Burns, current president and CEO of Jackson Safety, will continue to lead ...

Industrial Production Falls 1.5% in March

Industrial production fell 1.5 percent in March after a similar decrease in February. For the first quarter as a whole, output dropped at an annual rate of 20.0 percent, the largest quarterly decrease of the current contraction. At 97.4 percent of its 2002 average, output in March fell to its lowest level since December 1998 and was nearly 13 percent below its year-earlier level.
 
Production in manufacturing moved down 1.7 percent in March and has registered five consecutive quarterly decreases. Broad-based declines in production continued; one exception was the output of motor vehicles and parts, which advanced slightly in March but remained well below its year-earlier level.
 
Outside of manufacturing, the output of mines fell 3.2 ...

Latest Beige Book Shows Some Signs of Stability

While the latest Beige Book reports from the Federal Reserve Banks indicate that the economy remained weak or contracted further before April 6, five of the 12 Districts noted that the pace of decline was moderating. Several Districts reported signs that activity in some sectors was stabilizing.
 
The report is a compilation of conditions across all 12 Federal Reserve Districts in the U.S.
Here's an overview of the report:
 
Manufacturing activity weakened across a broad range of industries in most Districts, with only a few exceptions. Cleveland noted some leveling off, and the New York and Dallas Districts reported demand was beginning to bottom out following steep declines.
 
Residential real estate markets continued to be weak. Home ...

Green Opportunities in the Stimulus Package

The stimulus package passed in February is about more than just shoring up business-as-usual organizations, says Pembroke Consulting's Adam Fein. Fein identified more than $15 billion that has been allocated to enhance or create green projects on the state and federal level - a significant increase over previous funding. For example, state energy programs will receive $3.1 billion dollars - a funding jump of 70% over 2008.
 
This new funding can be a boon for distributors, particularly those that service the electrical and homebuilding/renovation sectors. Money will flow into projects for weatherization - anything from rewiring to insulation - and for improving the smart grid.
 
States and municipalities are still trying ...

A. M. Castle Announces Additional Cost-Cutting Measures

A. M. Castle & Co., Franklin, Park, IL, a global distributor of specialty metal and plastic products and services, announced a series of cost reduction initiatives amid continued challenges in the global economy and the metals market. The additional cost reduction measures include reduced work weeks and furloughs, suspension of the Company's 401(k) contributions, and executive salary cuts of at least 10% resulting in a total cash compensation reduction of approximately 20%.
 
In March, the company announced its intention to reduce 2009 operating expenses by at least $45 million. With the latest additions to its cost management efforts, a $65 million operating expense reduction in 2009 is expected, a reduction of over 20%.
 
The company also announced plans to ...

Helping Employees Who Are Let Go

As this BusinessWeek article back in September 2008 points out (long before the widespread layoffs we are seeing now started), implementing layoffs is more than a legal issue or an economic one. The author of that article wrote: "At its core, downsizing is an ethical issue, and the good manager is concerned not just with protecting the company's financial and legal interests but also with honoring the dignity and integrity of the human beings who work on the front lines and who are the lifeblood of the organization."
 
To that end, in the recent downturn, many distributors want to help the employees out - they are "very concerned for the well-being of ...